Photo: © Petros Diveris, Manchester, Summer 2012
On Brexit, xenophobia and the two different meanings of globalisation
Petros Diveris reports from Britain
In the beginning there was globalisation, and so UKIP created Brexit and the word was that it was all down to globalisation. Some of that talk was of Brexiteers having expressed with the vote their anger about not having received any of the benefits of globalisation. In reality that meant that those people were angry at the rich 1% and the richest 0.1% who “benefitted from globalisation” at the expense of us all. This realisation had to be killed off at birth, or the entire system would collapse. The ruthless political class who govern us today, and whose power only remit is to enforce the perpetual enrichment of said groups by impoverishing us all could not, and never would, allow this truth out. In simple terms globalisation is a euphemism for perpetual impoverishment. In order to suppress this most fundamental truth the capital’s henchmen will stop at nothing, not even at turning the rest of us against each other. This truth has to be concealed at all costs.
At the other end of the political spectrum globalisation has come to mean open borders and mobility in an era of ever converging economies, capital flows and media. But it would be rather rich to call beneficiaries of globalisation even people like myself, a person whom Theresa May would describe with disdain as a “citizen of the world”. I am as susceptible to the whims of "the markets" as anyone else, and now I am also one of those who are increasingly being singled out as the reason why certain angry Britons cannot find jobs. I have been asked in newspapers comments sections “why can I not simply go home”. Apart from the obvious point that home is where I want it to be, the question is exactly what benefits would my flight bring to the anonymous coward? Would he or she become suddenly more employable, and if yes what kind of admission is this, that said person can only thrive in my absence? Bigotry thrives on idiocy but here we also have an astonishingly open admission of cowardice.
I want to believe that we, the so called progressives, may quietly take pleasure out of the mobility brought about by the EU, but we know perfectly well that globalisation has nothing to do with democracy, people’s rights or the benefit of the people. I am sure that it is crisp clear to most of us that the word is a euphemism for the advancement of the interests of the filthy rich against everyone else. By having added to the “G” package our freedom of movement, at least within the EU, the elites have somehow made us if not complacent at least seen as such, and simultaneously vulnerable. They’ve made us vulnerable as we find ourselves in “another country” at the mercy of its hosts, and by pointing at us as the chief reason behind the continuous impoverishment of the electorate.
The Conservative Party of the UK is now UKIP. In order for UKIP to be killed off the Tories had to become UKIP. They now are UKIP in every possible sense. Not so much in that for the tories the whole “EU exit” agenda is now simply about immigration and nothing else. It is more about the fact that the party’s sole role now is the establishment of a perpetual state of increasing poverty of the masses and inequality by means of fomenting and directing tension, and potentially aggression and even violence. The chief means for achieving this, and the only role the party now plays, is by turning everyone against each other, and that’s what I mean when I say that ultimately this a party whose only function is to claim and to exercise a monopoly over power. By power here I mean it exactly the way Tony Blair saw it that infamous day in Bush’s ranch down in Crawford in a moment of divine epiphany. For Tony realised that day, or more likely it was whispered to him, that power doesn’t exist by itself; one has to create power by bombing, by butchering, by maiming and killing.
And so it is that as the truth has many layers, like Günter Grass’s infamous onion we come to reveal parts of it by peeling layers. In doing so we’ll also come across some practical but also very pressing motivation for pulling out of the EU and its conventions such as those pertaining to human rights. Yesterday in her party’s conference in Birmingham, the only city whose residents voted for exit, Theresa May declared war on those leftie peaceniks who “harangue the men and women of Britain’s Armed Forces” with their human rights nonsense. It is ironic then that a major beneficiary of Britain’s rapid descent into the old barbaric ways will be no other than Rt Hon Tony Blair, who was amongst the most vocal opponents of “Brexit”.
Georg Grosz, Eclipse of the Sun, 1926
Post truth and post politics
It has been asserted that we live in a post-truth and post-politics era. Both statements are of course as true as was Fukuyama’s report of the death of history. By his own admission Fukuyama was blinded by the “high” caused by the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, but those who talk about post-truth and post-politics are, perhaps unknowingly to them, aiding our rulers in hiding the core truth underpinning today’s struggle, the truth being what I’ve already mentioned above, the truth that it always was. Namely that the political elites of big money centres such as those of London and Frankfurt all claim a monopoly over the creation of poverty, in order to maintain and increase the wealth of their masters. Frankfurt does this by creating peripheries at will, using money itself as its weapon, in order to be able to create a vital space, a Lebensraum, for its wealth. London has reverted to revealing the true colours of power by simply unleashing angst, and by managing raw tension. In doing so it paints Wolfgang Schäuble as a civilised man, some kind of impartial scientist, a good doctor perhaps who simply did his job as well as he could during the days of the Reich. Of course the demand of monopoly over the creation of peripheries, and the use of said power to create poverty at will in loci of one's choosing is as much of an act of violence as is Theresa May’s open warfare against our society.
Since the onset of the financial crisis, and the destruction of my ancestral country, I have often made parallels with the 1920s and 30s. On the face of it the parallels are all there for everyone to see. The most striking one amongst them is the determination of an ever shrinking administrative class of enforcers to aid and abet the oligarchs in their quest to extract more and more wealth from us, of creating more wealth out of us. Their resolve to only stop at the barrel of a gun that is, or when there is blood in the streets. I obviously wasn’t alive when Rosa Luxembourg was assassinated, but I suspect that the descent into fascism then was, as probably today is, more of a state of mind than an event, even when assisted by the likes of Schäuble and May. If we do not work together hard to stop the neoliberal project from achieving its brutal goals then we are inevitably repeating the 1920s and 30s. The ugly “beauty” of the neoliberal project, apart from its blatant attempt to set us one against another, as Manuela Cadelle observed, is that it is a species of fascism; “it has brought under subjection not only the government of democratic countries but also every aspect of our thought”. We need to grasp this in order to get out of this mental state, in order to wake out of this unfolding nightmare.
We can change this.